Syfy’s “Powerful” Mondays return with Warehouse 13 returning with its fourth season at 9pm ET/PT followed by one of our favorites, Alphas Season 2 premiering at 10pm. Last season’s finale left Alphas fans with a major cliffhanger as Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) went public, announcing the existence of super-powered beings living amongst humans. Changes would certainly be expected but one that came to a surprise from a production standpoint was a change in showrunner from science fiction vet, Ira Steven Behr to Bruce Miller who was previously the executive producer on Syfy’s Eureka, and was co-excutive producer on Medium and The 4400.
Alphas struggled a bit to find its way in Season One but when it finally did, it captured a real-world approach at super-powered beings existing in our world on television that resonated. The change in showrunner certainly caused some concern from a viewer’s perspective but surprisingly, the cast shared the collaborative nature on the set and explained appropriately as a team, they’ve made a successful transition. We caught up David Strathairn, Laura Mennell, Warren Christie, Azita Ghanizada at Comic-Con and Ryan Cartwright on a conference call. This is what they had to say about Miller’s tenure as series showrunner and what’s been emphasized this season.
David Strathairn (Dr. Rosen): “It’s hard to contextualize, we have more balls in the air now, plus a year under our belt. We have a new set of writers who didn’t know us and it’s like coming home and have a whole new set of children to deal with. So that relationship has been day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month, while trying to hold onto the original vision and mythology of the show that Zak, Michael Karnow, and Ira Steven Behr created. It’s been work but good work and good collaborations, with the intention of staying the course with the same flavor and tone. I think for the most part we’ve been successful (in doing that) and it’s been very creative. It’s like getting a different trail guide, but we’re the ones who have been on the trail before, so we’re the ones who are telling them what kind of back pack they need and how much water they need to drink.
Warren Christie (Cameron Hicks): “At the end of the day it’s new eyes and fresh ideas. The key to it is that we’re so collaborative, we just spent a year and a season to creating our characters and this world so there was open to talk to us; it was important that we held true to what we were before. Bruce came in very excited and the new people came in very passionate about it and that’s a great place to start. From there it was about how do we make this work, what are we going to do, how are we going to make the show full and the characters vital. It’s tough in a first season to just scratch the surface and we got to know them a bit. I think we really got great action and other things going on but if we don’t care about the people or see more and more about these characters, then I think you’re going to lose people and this year we delve into who they were as people and their lives.”
Laura Mennell (Nina Theroux): I think after establishing our first season too, we have the time to let our characters grow and explore a bit, and get more details, so we definitely do that. Bruce has a lot of love from the very beginning and so much excitement.
Ryan Cartwright (Gary Bell): “I still haven’t seen any of the episodes, but I know there’s a lot more like fireworks and a lot more action. I believe there’s a lot more sex. I wouldn’t be able to completely confirm that, because I’m never invited to set on those days either in character or act. [Laughs] But, I think it’s pretty much the same, you know, it’s like red flag and there seems to be, I mean, this season like I was saying, it seems to be a lot more — just a lot more in-fighting. There’s a lot of ‘These guys just aren’t good for each other, why don’t they just kind of disband?’
“But I don’t think it’s changed that much. I mean, I know there was some lovely, political analogies and stuff when Ira was on that were nice. And I think those carry over, I can’t see how they can’t. But, I guess won’t know until I’ve seen the whole season–to see how it blends. But it seems pretty much the same, you know, on a day-to-day basis.”
Azita Ghanizada (Rachel Pirzad): “It was a bit quirky last year in finding its footing, so it’s definitely a different environment. The show has become more serialized. The mythology has a strong needle through every episode. We were together all the time last year, so they’ve been breaking us up more and creating these different and separate team dynamics and how we’ll deal with that. There’s been less time together, which I fight for more often because I think we work really well as a family.”
“The episodes are stronger and the first one is very glitzy, glossy and full of action. The six proceeding episodes are going to be very based in human drama and the things that makes these people human in addition to being heroic.”
As far as some specifics on the direction of Season 2, the overall arc will be heavily focused on Red Flag and Rosen’s nemesis, Stanton Parish (John Pyper-Ferguson) as well as people being more aware of the existence and presence of Alphas. So expect bigger risks being taken, a more aggressive team and much more meaningful missions and it’s fair to say that it is willing to venture into darker territory to help make their point.
Strathairn: “It’s an interesting way to begin the season for the team is separated from each other, and things start to hang in the balance while Red Flag and Parish team starts to grow. We’ve upped the ante, as the stakes are much higher. There’s more anxiety about what’s going on. We discover with a lot of the characters that there’s a sort of self-will and use of their abilities, they’re more confident, they’re taking more risks, and certainly Rosen is taking more risks. He needs to be, he has to, Parish’s getting stronger; the game at foot is a lot different than just helping Alphas understand their abilities.”
Cartwright: “It deals with Alphas out in the open, but the reemergence of Red Flag and Stanton Parish is very influential on the arc. A lot of it is obviously the Alphas kind of falling apart as a group and just trying to stick together and weather the storm of just wearing each other down with their abilities and their own passions.”
“Every alpha has their own motives and they all have their own kind of modus operandi of what they want and they’re at loggerheads with each other a lot more this season. It’s not so much just bickering about who stole who’s pudding, although that’s pretty much is it for Gary. But the second tier to that is Stanton Parish is mixed in the pot again and he’s really coming on full force again. He comes back with a vengeance and it gets really heady, you know, without giving too much away I guess. But Parish is up to his old tricks and he proves a lot more menacing and dastardly this time around.”
Christie: Warren: “I think parts of it are headed that way (towards a darker series). From where we pick up, we’re a bit of a scattered group; people have fallen back to their old ways. We push things a bit this season. We need to. I think it’s important to up the stakes, whatever that might be. I think we’ve successfully done that to this point. The scripts that have been coming in have been great, it’s so collaborative, our group, everyone’s on the same page but I think we’ve got some things that are going to happen that I have to be careful talking about. [Laughs] I don’t want to get in trouble…”
“We can say someone… dies. The important thing about our show is that if no one was ever hurt or no lives were ever lost–and I don’t necessarily mean the Alphas or Red Flag–you lose the sense of what’s really important, that these are people; they can be hurt. The violence gets very extreme so we can see the effect of how people are when innocent humans are being hurt.”
On that note, we’ll let you think about that as you prepare for the Season 2 Premiere of Alphas tonight and every Monday at 10pm on Syfy. Be sure to check back later for more specifics about what to expect in Season 2 and beyond for some of the individual Alphas.